While Ubuntu images for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 have already hit, there is currently no official tablet announced that is being designed around Ubuntu. Does that mean Canonical doesn’t have any hardware partners or simply have yet to reveal them? That’s hard to say at this point.
We do know that an Australian manufacturer has now jumped the gun and announced the first Ubuntu tablet – but it doesn’t seem to be anything ‘officially’ connected with Canonical, nor does it look too impressive. Of course, Ubuntu is open-source by nature so any company can likely install the OS on their hardware if they so choose.
The company is called Intermatrix and the tablet is the U7, a 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex A9 tablet with a quad-core Vivante GC1000+ GPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 7-inch display and front/back webcams.
How do we know this isn’t backed by Canonical? We can’t say for 100% sure it isn’t since the company behind Ubuntu hasn’t denied the U7′s existence yet, but nor have they confirmed or promoted it.
So is this worth getting when it arrives, regardless of whether it is an ‘official’ Canonical partner or not? There are certainly a few red flags here.
First, even though the Nexus 7 has an official image despite having just 1GB of RAM, Ubuntu is aiming for all ‘commercial’ tablets to have at least 2GB. Those who have tried the Nexus 7′s Ubuntu image have noted that it was a pretty laggy experience.
The second flag is that timing. Canonical has said before that Ubuntu won’t get official (release-ready) phone support until January of 2014, and tablet support until April 2014. The U7 is claiming it will ship it will ship in October of this year. Right now the pre-orders for the U7 are set at $299 AU (about $307), though there is a “10% discount” that bring the price to about $274. Intermatrix does not guarntee shipping date, price or final specs for the tablet.
The bottom-line is that while this probably isn’t a “scam, it is likely a company trying to take advantage of early hype for the upcoming OS.
Personally, I wouldn’t pre-order just yet. Commercial Ubuntu tablets are at least a year away, so it might be safer to wait until next year. What do you think of the Intermatrix U7? Interested or not?